Google Docs Tips and Tricks

Headings and Styles - Google Docs

Need to give structure your Google Docs? Use the Google Docs Styles and Headings to help give your document structure, consistency and ease usage with a Table of Contents.


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You may have used Headings in Google Sites, or perhaps a desktop word-processing program like Microsoft Word. Using Headings is essential to keep titles and headings formatted consistently in your document.

In Google Docs, you can use the predefined Headings, or you can customise them so that your headings are exactly the style you want them to be. For example, you can choose colour, size, whether they are bold, underlined, italic etc.

There are several benefits to doing this, aside from consistent formatting. For example, you can use the Table of Contents feature to create an automatic contents table based on your headings.

Note: You cannot make bulleted or numbered lists into headings

Write a Heading

You can write a heading in two ways

  1. Choose the Style drop-down menu next to the font selector (it usually displays ‘Normal Text’) and choose the type of heading you wish to use (e.g. Heading 1) and type your heading. When you use the enter/return key on the keyboard the the text style will default back to Normal Text.
  2. To change regular text into a heading, select the text, use the Style drop-down menu and choose a heading

Customise your Headings

  1. To customise a heading select an existing heading or write a new one
  2. Then format that piece of text e.g. change the colour, font, line spacing etc.
  3. From the Style drop-down menu, choose the heading you want to update to your formatting, choose the arrow for that option, and choose Update heading to match. So, if you chose ‘Heading 1’, all text formatted to ‘Heading 1’ will have changed to the new formatting

Save your Styles

Styles only associate with the document you customise them in, but if you want to reuse your well-crafted, appealing set of styles for all of your new documents you can make the styles the default styles for all new documents.

  1. Use the Style drop-down menu, then Options and then
  2. Save as my default styles
  3. If you want to apply your styles to another document (e.g. one you did not create) use the Style drop-down menu, then Options, and then Use my default styles
  4. At any time, if you wish to revert to the Google Docs default styles use the Style drop-down menu, then Options and then
  5. Reset styles

Advantages that Headings and Styles provide

When you format your document with styles and headings you not only improve the consistency of the formatting in the document but also give the document structure: this means you can add an automatically-generated Table of Contents or link to headings from within and from external references.

To add a Table of Contents use the Insert menu and Table of Contents and Google Docs will generate a table of contents based on the headings in your document.


Write a Heading

Apply Heading

Heading and Normal Text

Customise your Heading

Apply Customised Heading

Options for Saving Styles

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